An Alternative to Cutting GHSP’s Engineer in Two

Jim Yancey’s job for GHSP, a manufacturer of gear shifters for Chrysler, Ford, Honda, and others, is to make sure that the production lines in GHSP’s two Michigan plants run smoothly. With the Michigan factories being about 55 miles apart (one in Hart, the other in Grand Haven) his job often required Jim to be in two places at once. And with GHSP?s production lines running three shifts daily, he found the need to be in two places at once, 24 hours per day.

The LAVA Ether-Serial Link provides an alternative to cutting Jim into two pieces. Using a dedicated T1 line that connects the two plants, Jim is able to bridge the distance between sites and can now monitor the Mitsubishi PLCs placed at the ends of his production lines, on-line, in real time. He needs to make no changes to the OPC server and Iconics software that he is running: the operation of the Ether-Serial Link is completely transparent.

Each PLC’s interface is an RS-232 serial port. Through it, Jim programs the PLC’s logic, troubleshoots the portion of the production line controlled by that PLC, and collects data on a line’s uptime and downtime, output, and scrap percentages. Before the Ether-Serial Link, Jim had to be physically in the plant and hooked up with a laptop to the serial port on the PLC he was programming, diagnosing, or reading.

In this application Jim is connecting a LAVA Ether-Serial Link to a Mitsubishi E-300 Operator’s Display and then through the display?s pass-through serial port to the PLC. Now, Jim can not only remotely perform troubleshooting and monitoring operations directly on the PLC, he can also communicate with the human operator of that production line through the Operator’s Display. Choosing which task he is doing is a simple matter of switching software applications.

To date, Jim has placed Ether-Serial Links on the last stop in each of his production lines: the quality control and test segment. His rollout plans include placing Ether-Serial Links further upstream in the production line, to eventually gain remote access to automate the entire process.

The Ether-Serial Link also makes it possible to let local technicians look at multiple machines from a single location, and using the PLC/software combination’s ability to send e-mail pages and notifications. Although Jim is using Ether-Serial Links across aT1Intranet, Internet use is also possible.

The Ether-Serial Link solution Jim is using can’t stop things from going off course at the wee hours of the morning, but it can make a difference to where Jim is when it does. Connect Simply.